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Project Related Findings

Preterm birth and wealth in adulthood

research feature

In a meta-analysis, researchers from the University of Warwick have shown that adults who were born preterm hold lower educational qualifications, are less likely to be employed, and are more likely to receive social benefits than their peers born at term (Bilgin, Mendonca, & Wolke, 2018). Summarising the findings from 23 studies from across three continents with nearly 6 million participants, the findings were consistent between younger and older adults and between the geographic regions. However, adults who were born very preterm (< 32nd gestational week) hold lower educational qualifications than their peers born moderately to late preterm (32nd to 36th gestational week). Another study by PremLife team members showed that particularly math skills in adolescence were an important protective factor for the wealth among adults who were born preterm (Basten, Jaekel, Johnson, Gilmore, & Wolke, 2015).

Basten M, Jaekel J, Johnson S, Gilmore C, Wolke D. Preterm birth and adult wealth: mathematics skills count. Psychol Sci. 2015;26(10):1608–1619

Bilgin, A., Mendonca, M., & Wolke, D. (2018). Preterm Birth/Low Birth Weight and Markers Reflective of Wealth in Adulthood: A Meta-analysis. Pediatrics, e20173625.

Associations between maternal antenatal corticosteroid and mental and behavioural disorders in children

Maternal antenatal corticosteroid treatment is standard care to accelerate fetal maturation when very preterm birth (before 34 weeks) is imminent. It prevents neonatal morbidity, respiratory distress syndrome, and brain injury. however the long-term effects of this intervention on term-born children had not previously been examined. In a population-based cohort study of 670,097 children born between 2006 and 2017 in Finland, exposure to maternal antenatal corticosteroid treatment was significantly associated with mental and behavioural disorders in children. These findings may help inform decisions about maternal antenatal corticosteroid treatment.

Räikkönen, K., Gissler, M., Kajantie, E. Associations between maternal antenatal corticosteroid treatment and mental and behavioural disorders in children. JAMA. 2020;323(19):1924-1933. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.3937